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HomeAllGiants' Darren Waller announces NFL retirement after health issue, Kelsey Plum's divorce...

Giants' Darren Waller announces NFL retirement after health issue, Kelsey Plum's divorce filing


NFL tight end Darren Waller has declared it a career, informing the New York Giants of his retirement plans, CBS Sports confirmed. The 31-year-old played one season with the Ravens, Raiders and Giants, and was absent from organized team activities this offseason.

“We have tremendous respect for Darren as a person and a player. We wish him nothing but the best,” the Giants said in a statement.

Waller shed light on the circumstances behind his retirement in a video posted to YouTube, recounting a fever he suffered in November that left him shaking uncontrollably, unable to breathe, and hospitalized for three and a half days.

“I almost lost my life, and I don't know that I really feel like I would feel that good about my life if I would have died,” Waller said in the video. “It's kind of made me reevaluate, you know? I've made the decision that I'm going to retire from the NFL.”

Waller was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, and he struggled with drug addiction from the start, resulting in him being suspended for the entire 2017 NFL season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

“I didn't really have a lot of self-worth,” Waller told NFL Films about that period of his life. “I was like, I know I need to change. But making changes at that point seemed too hard, and I wasn't willing to do the work.”

After spending some time in rehab and working a job stocking shelves at a grocery store, Waller returned to the NFL. The biggest accomplishments of his career came during a 5-year stint with the Raiders, both in Oakland and Las Vegas. The tight end posted consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020, culminating in a 2020 Pro Bowl selection.

Waller also made headlines for his rollercoaster romance with Las Vegas sports star Kelsey Plum. The pair married in 2023 and then filed for divorce in April.

“I am devastated,” Plum, who played for the Las Vegas Aces, wrote on social media the day of the filing. “I persevered through the fire for the man, but now I feel it’s time to go.”

Waller, the great-grandson of jazz musician Thomas “Fats” Waller, has been expressing himself in other ways. He released a music video titled “Who Knew (Her Perspective)” in late May. In it, a woman resembling Plum stabs Waller in the back and leaves him for dead on the beach.

“I'm someone who will always have many passions, many ways to express myself. And it's very common for me to be outdone by some passions,” Waller said in his retirement video. “The worst thing for an expression generator, for someone like me, would be to think that I have to choose one path of life, one path, and stick to it like most people in the world.”

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